Oct 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

May you avoid mass-mudering lunatics and soulless, black-eyed things that go bump in the night. Or not. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!!!

Oh, and by the way...here are my top 20 horror films of all-time.  As submitted to Final Girl for SHOCKtober!!!  No particular order, except alphabetic..I guess.

  1. [REC]
  2. Alien
  3. An American Werewolf in London
  4. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  5. Dog Soldiers
  6. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) (TV)
  7. Event Horizon
  8. Frontier(s)
  9. Ginger Snaps
  10. Halloween (1978)
  11. Let the Right One In
  12. Salem's Lot (1979) (TV)
  13. The Descent
  14. The Devil's Rejects
  15. The Howling
  16. The Omen
  17. The Shining
  18. The Thing (1982)
  19. The Wicker Man (1973)
  20. Trick 'r Treat

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day.  The night HE came home.

Oct 30, 2010


I'm in Charleston today and for the rest of the week with Gia. And here are a few things I'm looking forward to while we are down here:
  • Seeing Gia's family, all of whom have moved down here in the past two years.
  • Spending a couple of days and a night over at Folly Beach.  It's one of the coolest little surf towns I've ever visited.
  • Alternating between the Chicago-style dogs at Skoogies and the eclectic hot dog fare at Jack's Cosmic Dogs.  Because I'm not sure which one is my favorite.
  • Eating at Momma Brown's later today before they close up shop for good.  Gia is gonna be more upset than I over that one.  She dreams about their fried chicken.
  • Trick 'r Treating with Gia's nephew tomorrow night.  Her sister's neighborhood pretty much closes down for car traffic and lets the kids run wild.  The parents tag along with coolers full of beer, wine and cocktails.  Who says the kids should have all the fun?
  • Hanging out in downtown Charleston at least one or two nights.  There is a beer bar down there called The Griffon that is a combination English pub from the outside and Key West dive bar on the inside with yummy, yummy craft beers served from a knowledgeable staff.  Great joint!
  • Gia's sister, who is an incredible chef, and I will probably do a bunch of cooking as well.  I'll get back to you on the menus we come up with.
  • Walking with my woman on the beach.  Or reading by the pool.  Or doing whatever.  
See ya when I get back!

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Don't worry...I'll still be posting every day.

Oct 29, 2010

Winnah, winnah...chicken dinnah!!!


Before I announce the winner, how about a big round of applesauce for all the participants?  They were:


Hooray for pumpkin men/scarecrow/suicide things!!!  Winner of the First (annual?) Verdant Dude Jack Contest!!!  Congratulations, duder.  I'll email you with some ideas for a prize.  Maybe I'll even make you a badge you can hang on your joint.  But it won't be until after I get back from vacation.  Sorry, man.

Thanks to everyone for participating.  Happy Halloween!!!
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. What a nice bunch of Fuck-o'-lanterns...

Oct 28, 2010

The Verdant Dude Jack Contest


Woohoo! As of yesterday, I had one lonely submission. Would've been pretty easy to pick the winner from that group, eh?  But I received a handful of great Jack-o'-lantern pics at the midnight hour...or the past 24 hours to be specific.  Here's what we are gonna do.  I'll leave this post up today and y'all can vote for your favorite carving over in the sidebar in the right.  Feel free to leave any comment you wish down below, but make sure you vote in the poll over there on the right.  Tomorrow I'll reveal the winner!

*** Remember, vote in the poll in the sidebar.  Not in the comments***

Use whatever criteria you want to vote for your favorite.  Skill, theme, tradition, whatever.  But vote wisely.  A undetermined prize of minimal value is at stake here.  That and much respect, yo.

Some of these have more than one view.  Like a lit and unlit version.  So I included everything.  Deal.  Oh, and you can probably click on each individual pic to get a better look at each one if you want.  Who am I to tell you what to do? - Earl

Jack #1

Jack #2

Jack #3

Jack #4

Jack #5

Jack #6

Jack #7

Jack #8

Jack #9

Good luck, everyone!!!
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. What a nice bunch of Fuck-o'-lanterns...

Oct 27, 2010

Gentle Reminder

Tonight (10/27) is the deadline for The Verdant Dude Jack Contest. Pumpkin carving, that is. So far I've only received 2 entries, so start jacking! Er, carving. Er, ya know. 11PM is the deadline!!! 

Get your entries in TODAY!!!

Good luck, Fuck-o'-lanterns!

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. The winner may or may not get a naked picture of Slyde.  Just sayin'...

Oct 26, 2010

Absentee pt III

Well, it didn't take a genius to figure out that SNL would jump on the Jimmy McMillan bandwagon. You just knew it was gonna happen. And Keenan Thompson actually did a pretty good job with it.  I still would have loved to have seen the man himself on Weekend Update.  Why not?  Governor Patterson did it.

Sorry for you folks out of the country, but this one is on Hulu.com

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Oct 25, 2010

Session 9

What better way to celebrate the Halloween season (yes...it's a season for some of us) than to watch a good old-fashioned horror flick? I can't think of one.

I remember when Session 9 first hit the theaters back in August of 2001. It opened with generally good reviews and I particularly remember the NY Times giving it some good notices. Unusual for a horror flick. So I was interested enough to make a mental note on some day seeing it. It was in and out of the theaters fairly quickly, so I knew that meant a home rental one of these days. Or catching it on cable.

I finally got around to watching it over this past weekend, and I really shouldn't have waited that long. It's an excellent piece of work.  A horror movie that forces you to think.  Imagine that?

The movie itself is very minimalistic. Five working class men take a job to clean out some asbestos in a former mental institution that had been closed amid rumors of a scandal or two.  As they go about their one-week gig at the abandoned hospital, a little bit of each man's psyche/character/past is revealed.  Gordon is worried about his wife and new child.  Phil and Hank bicker about Hank stealing away Phil's woman.  Jeff, just a recent high-school grad and the nephew of Gordon, spends his time avoiding the dark tunnels of the basement as he is extremely afraid of the dark.  And Mike, maybe the most interesting character of all, is a law-school dropout with a mystical side who spends his downtime listening to a stack of recorded conversations between a patient with multiple personalities and her doctor.  The tapes, nine in all, are labeled as Sessions 1 thru 9, and they introduce us to all of the patient's varied hidden personalities.  Engrossing and frightening stuff.

The film stars Peter Mullan, who is unquestionably one of my favorite unheralded actors around, as Gordon, the head of the crew with David Caruso as Phil, his second-in-command. Caruso is generally not my cup of tea. He tends to squint, cock his head and whisper a lot. I guess that's his thing. But Peter Mullan...brilliant! As he always is.  Josh Lucas as Hank, Brendan Sexton III as Jeff and Stephen Gevedon (who also co-wrote the script) as Mike round out the cast.

But the real star of the film is the former Danvers Lunatic Asylym. Oh sure, it had been renamed the Danvers Mental Hospital some time before it eventually closed in the mid-80's, but a lunatic asylum is what it was. And the horrors that most likely occurred there at the patient's expense were most likely much, much worse than anything the sane could imagine.

The building itself, most of it recently torn down to make way for condos, is a cinematic marvel. Something akin to the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. A brooding presence all on its own. But abandoned and dark and waterlogged as opposed to the sterile beauty of The Overlook. One would think that a filmmaker would be hard-pressed to make a horror movie at Danvers that wasn't scary. The grounds of the asylum itself are scary enough.

And like The Shining, this film isn't your straight-forward horror tale. Many interpretations of the events that unfold once the men start digging into the belly of the beast are available to the audience. Some of them too frightening to ponder. Can evil lie dormant in a brick and mortar building over years of abandonment? Or is the evil in the hearts and minds and actions of every man?  Or is there something...else going on?

It's a slow burn. Not everyone is going to enjoy the pacing. But for those of you with patience and an interest in psychological horror, Session 9 may be for you.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. "I live in the weak and the wounded...Doc."

Oct 24, 2010

Veronica Mars

So for the past couple of weeks, I've been feeding my addiction on Netflix for Veronica Mars. The wacky, sometimes harsh adventures of a teenage private detective living in what looks to be the nicest place in the world. Even for those non-oh-niners. Is San Diego and the surrounding area really that nice?  Anyway, I'm about halfway through Season 2 as of this weekend.  And I can finally see why nerds around the world are so in love with Kristen Bell.  She's genuinely adorable.

I hate to admit it, but tt's really, really fucking good.   And no, I don't feel like an old turd for enjoying this particular high-school drama.  Except for the times that I really do feel that way.  You know?

I totally blame he and she for this whole mess.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day.  If I were a porn star, my name would definitely be Dick Casablancas .

Oct 23, 2010

Earl's Kitchen - Larb

One of my favorite dishes to order at a Thai joint is Larb or Laab. It's a ground or minced beef/chicken/pork dish that is served with sticky rice and romaine lettuce leafs. You put the meat and the rice in a leaf of lettuce and make little delicious taco things. Did I mention that it's delicious.

Mucho thanks to Gia's sister, who is a brilliant chef, for giving me her recipe. Which is pretty close to this:

Larb (it tastes better than it sounds)

2 lbs ground pork (or beef or chicken)
1 large handful of mint
2 medium sized shallots thinly sliced
1 bottle of Thai fish sauce
A whole mess of limes
2 cups jasmine rice
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 head of romaine lettuce

- Combine the mint leaves, shallots and garlic chili sauce in a large non-metal bowl. Mix well.

- Cook the pork (or beef or chicken) in a large saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water. If you are going to use chicken, then you may want to cook some chicken breasts and mince the meat in a food processor. Store-bought ground chicken is a bit fatty. You want the meat to get cooked without getting real browned. That's why you want to add the water...to keep it moist and juicy. After cooking, drain all liquid/fat and add to the bowl with the mint, shallots and garlic chili sauce. Mix well and cover. The heat from the cooked meat will blanch the mint and shallots, effectively cooking them as well.

- Cook the rice according to the directions on the packaging.

- Mix the fish sauce and the juice from the limes in a separate bowl. This is where your imagination/personal tastes comes in. For the amount you are cooking here, you could use about 4 oz of fish sauce and 4 oz of lime juice. But if you want more tang and less anchovies (that's what is generally in the fish sauce), then use more lime juice. I used about 5 oz lime juice to 3 oz fish sauce when I made it. Because we dig lime. Add the mixture to the bowl with the meat and all the other ingredients besides the rice and lettuce and mix well.

- Serve with the lettuce leafs and the rice. Eat it however you want. I like to make little lettuce rolls. Gia prefers to just mix the rice and the meat in a bowl and dig in with a spoon. But it's up to you. Feel free to use your hands as much as possible. They are the quickest delivery method of food to the mouth, after all.

- An optional garnish is to take a few tablespoons of jasmine rice and toast it up in a dry skillet until they are almost burned. Nice and brown. Then crush them between two paper plates with a rolling pin or something else ingenious that you come up with. Then sprinkle a bit of the crushed toasted rice over the regular cooked rice and/or the larb itself. It gives it a crunchy and interesting texture/flavor.

- What are you waiting for?

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Thai food fucking rules!

Oct 22, 2010

"Great party, isn't it?"

I haven't done one of these in a while. A good ole fun movie quote trivia game. Impress your fellow readers and, most importantly, me by guessing which movie these quotes are from. I'll post the correct responses as the day progresses and tomorrow I'll post the answers for the ones that no one gets. Fun, fun, fun!!! Oh, and there is a theme this time around...
  • 1) "Something that one lives with like an albatross round the neck. No, more like a millstone. A plumbing stone, by God! Damn them all!" The Fog
  • 2) "Just look at the face: it's vacant, with a hint of sadness. Like a drunk who's lost a bet." Shaun of the Dead
  • 3) "Suicide is like... the ultimate fuck you." Ginger Snaps - White Rabbit
  • 4) "What's the matter, kid? Don't ya like clowns?" The Devil's Rejects - Dave2
  • 5) "I'm going to do something now they used to do in Vietnam. It's called making a head on a stick." Wolf Creek
  • 6) "What the hell is this blue jelly shit all over my shit?" The Blair Witch Project
  • 7) "Where we're going... we don't need eyes to see!" Event Horizon
  • 8) "I don't know, my parents told me never to breathe anything from strangers." Night of the Comet
  • 9) "She's gonna cry, then I'm gonna cry, and we're all gonna cry!" The Craft
  • 10) "Caleb, those people back there, they wasn't normal. Normal folks, they don't spit out bullets when you shoot 'em, no sir." Near Dark - badgerdaddy
  • 11) "If you were going to take over the world, would you blow up the White House 'Independence Day' style, or sneak in through the back door?" The Faculty - Slyde
  • 12) "I HATE a guy with a car and no sense of humor." Halloween - Poppy
  • 13) "This isn't the Republicans versus the Democrats, where we're in a hole economically or... or we're in another war. This is more crucial than that. This is down to the line, folks, this is down to the line. There can be no more divisions among the living!" Dawn of the Dead (original) - badgerdaddy
  • 14) "A man walks into a bar with a giraffe. They both get pissed. The giraffe falls over. The man goes to leave and the bartender says, "Oi. You can't leave that lyin' there." And the man says, "No. It's not a lion. It's a giraffe."" 28 Days Later
  • 15) "Okay hard drinkers, let's drink hard. I'm buyin'" From Dusk 'Til Dawn - Sybil Law
  • 16) "No tracks, no sign, no spoor... you'd think after eating all those sheep they'd have to take a dump *some*place" Tremors - Slyde
  • 17) "I feel like the proto-human coming out of the forest primeval and seeing the moon for the first time and throwing rocks at it." Poltergeist
  • 18) "Reach anybody? We're a thousand miles from nowhere, man. And it's gonna get a hell of a lot worse before it gets any better!" The Thing - badgerdaddy
Bonus questions: As I always do, the title of this post (The Shining - Sybil Law) is also a quote from a film. As it the line in the footnote below (Salem's Lot - badgerdaddy). Dig?
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. "You'll sleep with the dead, teacher."

One more day

Leaving the movie quote trivia post up top for one more day. Because y'all only got 11 out of the 20 movies. HORROR movies, okay? I'll post the answers for the tough ones tomorrow. In the meantime...

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Do you get his tweets?

Oct 20, 2010

Absentee pt II

image: Gawker
Now I'm really pissed that I'm not going to be around on Election Day to vote this year. Because I think I may have found a candidate for Governor that I can support. His name is Jimmy McMillan and he's a candidate running under the "Rent is Too Damn High" party here in New York.  That's right.  New York wouldn't let certain candidates run under the Tea Party flag, but they allowed this gentleman to run under a platform with the word "Damn" in it's title.  Gotta love it. 

And if you were wondering if he's just a guy with a slick beard and black gloves, well...he OWNED the one and only NYS Gubernatorial Debate the other night.  Outshining the likes of favored political son Andrew Cuomo and Republican badass Carl Paladino.  Jimmy showed them who the real badass is.  Well, most of them.  Former madam Kristin Davis provided some badass moments herself.  When asked about the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), she compared it to her former business.  Except that she kept one set of books, was always on time and she kept her customers happy.

OK, I think I found two candidates I can support.

But back to Jimmy McMillan.  This guy is a Vietnam Vet who has been preaching his words on the streets of NYC for years.  The word?  The rent is too damn high, of course.  He tried to steer each issue back to his party's titular (hehe) platform.  Nothing going on but the rent, as it were.  Oh, he weighed in on different issues at times as well.  When asked about gay marriage, he responded "The Rent Is 2 Damn High Party feels if you want to marry a shoe, I'll marry you."  I don't know about you, but this could lead to all kinds of escalation.  Once gays are allowed to marry their shoes, what's next?  Leather pants?  Feather boas?  Tiaras?  But I digress...

Check out my man Jimmy's highlights from the debate.  If Saturday Night Live doesn't make a parody of this to start their show this weekend, I'll eat my shoe.  Wait...would that be grounds for divorce?

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Gotta go with the guy sporting the epic beard.

Oct 19, 2010

The End is Nigh

I get sidetracked a lot when I'm futzing around the Interwebs. I go 'here' to look something up, and I wind up way over "there". And neither "here" nor "there' is where you usually find the fun stuff. The "in-between" fun stuff, if you know what I'm talkin' about.

And sometimes you find stuff that you wish you never knew about. Maybe something with two girls and a cup or recent pictures of Madonna's arms. Scary stuff. Stuff that kills a small portion of your soul just by you knowing that it's out there. Stuff you wish could be erased forever, just by taking the blue pill instead of that red one.

I came across something like that yesterday. I was just doing some harmless browsing on IMDB. Looking up a horror movie that I was thinking about watching on Netflix that evening. Let me tell you...IMDB is a horribly addictive gateway drug. It leads to bad things. One minute you are looking up a director or an actress or writer, and the next? Well, horrible things happen. It happened to me. And since this is the point of this whole post, I guess I had better share it with you.

Here it is.

A remake of Footloose is currently filming.


Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. I believe this was written about in Revelations.  I could be wrong.

Oct 18, 2010

The Peperon-tini

Once again, I'm deviating from my planned Monday posts here. I'm supposed to be doing a beer review today, but I haven't really tried anything new beer-wise in the past few weeks. I guess I could just review a beer I've had in the past, but that doesn't feel fresh.

So instead, I'll review a new cocktail that I made for the first time recently.

The Peperon-tini

3 1/2 oz Absolut Citron (or any citron vodka)
1/2 oz peperoncini juice
3 dashes green Tabasco
Spicy pepperoni and peperoncini for garnish

This one is soooo simple to make. A twist on the classic dirty olive martini. Instead of adding a bit of juice from the olive jar, you add juice from the peperoncini jar. Easy, peasy...

Add the vodka, peperoncini juice and Tabasco to a shaker filled with ice. Shake yer giggles out. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with a round of spicy pepperoni and a whole peperoncini. That's it. If you like, you can rim the glass with some sea salt, but it's not necessary.

Gia is more of a fan of spicy cocktails than I, but I really liked this one. The citrus from the vodka and the spice from the peperoncini and Tabasco went together really well. Dangerously well. I could see having 3 or 4 or these bad boys, if I found myself on a roll. Yeah...dangerous. Gia tried one with the salt on the rim first and loved it, then tried it without the salt and she loved it even more.

We found this one in a book of 60 spicy cocktails recipes that Gia picked up for me. She likes spicy cocktails and I like making them for her. Match made in...well, somewhere.

1 down, 59 to go. Huzzah!

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Can't wait to try the Wasabi-tini.

Oct 17, 2010

Cablevision vs FOX

Back in May, there was a bit of a contract dispute between ABC-TV and our local cable provider, Cablevision. There was a deadline and it passed and ABC's programming was pulled on a Sunday morning from Cablevision, but we all knew it was grandstanding. ABC was broadcasting the Oscars that night and you just knew that an agreement would be made in time for the Oscars to be seen in our HUGE media market. And it eventually happened...about 20 minutes into the broadcast.

The same kind of impasse is happening today* with FOX and Cablevision in our area. And there is another big event (for some of us) going on tonight* that will probably accelerate the negotiation.

Game 1 of the NLCS between the Phillies and the Giants.

Sure, it's not going to get the same ratings as the Oscars. But baseball fans have been anticipating this game all week. A classic marquee pitching matchup between Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay. Last year's NL Cy Young winner vs. this year's winner. Well, Halladay hasn't won it yet, but it's pretty much a given that he will win it.

I'm gonna be super fucking pissed if I'm not gonna be able to watch it!

*I wrote this on Saturday morning. I'll post updates, both joyful and sad, as the day progresses. Huh?

UPDATE #1: 8:56 PM EST - They are still at an impasse. I am still pissed.

UPDATE #2: 10:23 AM EST (Sunday) - Still nothing. Less pissed. Mostly because I'm fighting a cold.
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. A bunch of fucking suits!

Oct 16, 2010

OK, well...that IS better

So you know the post that I wrote the other day? The one about how my new smartphone didn't really do anything better than my old dumbphone? Well, I almost immediately found something that they do, um, do much better.

I was either going to go to the Sprint store this weekend to have my contacts transferred over to the new phone, or I was going to transfer them one at a time via bluetooth. Something I've done before, even though that's a bit of a pain in the ass.

But after I set up the new phone with my email account, I was surprised to find that 90% of my contacts were already there. The phone automatically transferred the contacts from my email account. Phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses and any other relevant information that I had stored there. Well, maybe it prompted me to see if I wanted to do that. I don't really remember. All I know is that it was soooo simple.

And that's something the old dumbphones didn't or couldn't do. I'm pretty impressed. And I'm not easily impressed.

So all I had to do was some cleanup on my email address book. Something I've been meaning to do for a long time now. And bazinga! Mission accomplished.

I now take back everything bad I've ever said about new technology. You...you're all right in my book.
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Go Yankees!

Oct 15, 2010


So just yesterday (the 14th), I realized that we were going to be away on vacation on Election Day this year. And I also realized that absentee ballots needed to be received by the board of elections no later than the 13th.

Oh well.

Looks like we won't be voting this year. Too bad, so sad.

Besides a not-so-interesting race for Governor*, we also have elections for Comptroller, Attorney General , one of the US Senate seats, a bunch of races for the House of Representatives (including a hotly contested race in our district featuring one of those Tea Party characters) and a host of state and local public offices. So this is a pretty big one for us to miss.

This means that I won't be allowed to comment on any of the idiot candidates who are running for election this year. Nor will I be allowed to complain about the outcome of the election or the election process itself. Phew! That's a load off my back right there!

Wait...did I already comment by calling them "idiot candidates"? Or are they all idiots by default just for running? I've never really loved a candidate for any public office, or if I have I'm sure that they let me down somehow. So that's a tough question. Hmm...I'm going to have to think about this one.

While getting a sunburn on a beach in SC, of course. Cocktails may be involved.

But that's it. No more talking about the mid-term elections for me. I haven't earned it.

*Although one dude is running under the "Rent is 2 Damn High" party. Dig.
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Who am I kidding? Cocktails "may" be involved? Of course they will be involved. Front and center.

Oct 14, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does

I finally broke down and got a smartphone yesterday. Not an iPhone or a Android phone, but a phone running Palm OS. Mostly because, when it comes to cell phones, I go for the free ones. And this one was free with my service provider.

Here's really all I want to do with a cell phone:
  • place and take calls
  • send and receive text messages
  • take pictures
  • send pictures
  • check and write email
  • check the baseball scores
  • occasionally Google something
not really me
That's it.  And I don't want to spend an arm and a leg to do it.

I don't use it to tweet. I don't use it to update my Facebook status. I don't use it for GPS (we already have one of those). I don't use it to shop. I don't use it to play games. I don't use it to play music. It's a phone, not my life*.

So the new phone does pretty much what my old dumbphone did. Faster and with a touch screen and lots of confusing apps, but pretty much what my old phone did. And pretty much what Gia's iPhone does too. I just don't really grasp the wonder of it all, I guess

And it was free. So there.

*This is no way is meant to disparage you or your love of your own phone. I'm just saying that, for me, it's just a phone.
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Yeah, that's right...I got a phone that came out a little less than a year ago. It takes time for me to catch up with technology.

Oct 13, 2010

Fringe Theory

Fringe is just about the oddest television show I've ever come across. And I'm not just talking about the content of the show itself. I'm talking about my relationship with the show, mostly. A real "on again/off again" type of affair.

Back when it debuted, I really thought it had a chance to be something special. But after about half the season, it seemed to have deteriorated into a sad X-Files clone. Your generic "mystery of the week" type of show, and it was doing nothing for me. Sure, the acting (especially the fantastic John Noble) was decent and it was science-fiction after all, so I should have been hooked. But I wasn't. So I dropped it like that bad habit they are always talking about in Proverbs.

Then, for some reason, I watched the last handful of episodes from last season. And it finally hooked me. I haven't gone back to watch the season and a half plus that I missed, maybe one day I will. But for now I'm pretty happy just watching the new episodes as they appear each week. Lots of fun stuff going on. Specifically another universe that is freakishly similar to ours in a lot of ways, but weirdly different in small ways that makes it a lot of fun. Like they have a comic-book character over there called The Red Lantern instead of The Green Lantern. Or occasionally a siren will go off and everyone needs to start sucking from n oxygen tube. And Back to the Future was made with Eric Stoltz in the lead role instead of Michael J. Fox.

Well that last one is something that very nearly DID happen in our own universe. In fact, Stoltz played Marty McFly for about 5 weeks of shooting before the switch was made. They say the Stoltz version would have been more somber and much darker than the comedy that Fox provided. I dunno. I'm not one of those people that adored BTTF, but there are a bunch of them around. Maybe I would have liked the Stoltz version better.

I'd like to switch realities/universes for a couple of hours to find out.

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Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Wait...McFly...Stoltz played the lead character in The Fly II. Am I on to something here?

Oct 12, 2010

The Wall Street Journal does sports

A couple of months ago, I ventured into the city one Saturday morning to attend a conference on baseball analysis with a friend of mine and his son. There were three or four panels, one of which focused on statistical analysis, specifically regarding baseball, in the media.

One of the more surprising things I learned from that panel, and from a bunch of the folks in the audience, was that The Wall Street Journal* now has one of the most highly-respected sports sections out of any daily newspaper in the nation. I didn't even know they had a sports section, but there it is.

*A quick sidebar here. Previously, among baseball fans in particular, the Kansas City Star's sports section was considered the premier sports section in the nation. With columnists like Jason Whitlock and Joe Posnanski, it was little wonder. Sadly, for the KC Star that is, both of those gentlemen have moved on to greener pastures. Just goes to prove, you don't have to work in LA or Chicago or NYC to matter on the national scene.

A couple of writers from the WSJ were present at the conference and what they said really made a lot of sense. They knew that they weren't going to be the go-to paper for regular sports fans looking for a recap of the previous day's games. So why bother doing the same old thing. They actually do game recaps...because they kinda have to, but it's the other stuff they do that makes them special. And they also were aware enough to know that newspapers as we now know them are a dying breed, and everything is going to go digital one of these days. So their website if fairly comprehensive.

So I've been checking it out recently. A little bit more neo-analysis than some of your standard newspaper reporting. Some fun and compelling human interest stuff as well. Check out the email interview with actor Wiley Wiggins on the physical resemblance from his character in Dazed and Confused to SF Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum. Fun stuff!

photo credit: The Wall Street Journal
I read about baseball a lot. I have many, many blogs in my feed reader specifically for baseball news and stories. I even have a Twitter account (no really, I do), but I mostly use it to follow several baseball writers. So I don't often get around to reading the sports sections of newspapers. Especially hard copies. But I'm finding that I'm headed the Wall Street Journal website more and more these days. It's really much better than I could ever have hoped for.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. The Wall Street Journal? Who knew?

Oct 11, 2010

Movie Macabre DENIED

Psst - Hey! Look over there at the right. Just wanted to remind you all of the Jack-o'-lantern contest. There's a link and a graphic and everything! Tell your enemies! - Earl

On a scheduling note, the second Monday of the month should mean a movie review here on The Verdant Dude as outlined in some previous post. It's been two months since I made that pledge and it hasn't happened yet, but only because of circumstances beyond my control. Last month there was a holiday which pushed my movie review to the third Monday in September. And this month I did a movie review last week as part of the Final Girl Film Club, and I haven't watched another movie since then. Yes, being lazy is a circumstance beyond my control.

But enough self-flagellation, I have something else to talk about. And it is kinda movie related. Specifically, this:

Hubba hubba...

Every since I was a young man, I've had a heart-on for Elvira and her low-budget hosting gig on Movie Macabre. Throughout most of early-mid 1980's, I was glued to the tube late Friday or Saturday nights when our local television station broadcast her show. Gloriously awful B horror flicks interspersed with snarky, wicked commentary from the Mistress of the Dark. And Cassandra Peterson, gothed-up in her punk/vampire/valley girl outfit, was awful fun to, um, look at. Yeah.

Like all things from our youth, Movie Macabre came and went. So I was stoked to the max (really?) to find out that Movie Macabre hosted by Elvira was coming back for another round of titillating (hehe) horror commentary.

Here's the problem. I can't watch it here in the NYC/LI area. If I lived in Birmingham or Boise or Kansas City or Las Vegas or well...just about anywhere else in the country, I could watch it. Just not here. In one of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Oh sure, on her site they say that it's being broadcast on WPIX.2 on Fridays at 2AM and Sundays at 1AM, and WPIX is a local channel here. Channel 11 on just about every local cable company's dial. But it's that ".2" at the end of the station's call signals that worried me. I had never heard of WPIX.2 or 11.2. Just how the hell do you get a channel that's in between channels 11 and 12?

Simple answer...you don't. Or I don't. Whatever.

Channel 11.2 is a digitally broadcast channel, but it can only be picked up with an antenna. One of those old TV antennas that we all used to need. And not just the rabbit ears that you could put on the top of the television set. No, you need to buy a real new-fangled one that goes on the roof. So you can access the digi-channels that are only broadcast this way.

Well, I'm not doing that. Even if I did that, I still wouldn't know how to tune into a channel like 11.2. Maybe the antenna comes with some kinds of special tuner. One that gets the "in between" stations like 11.2. I don't know. Do any of you out there watch television this way? Am I missing something?

All I know is that saying that they are broadcasting the show in this manner is like not even broadcasting it at all. At least for me. This just isn't an option.

Which is a shame. Because I really, really, really would like to turn back the clock and watch Movie Macabre once again. Elvira rules so fucking much. Like...totally.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Happy Columbus Day. Do people say that?

Oct 10, 2010

Earl's Favorite Film Scenes: Vol VII

Being able to watch Midnight Run anytime I want is reason enough to spend the money on a Netflix subscription. And I don't watch it as often as I'd like. Great cast, great script, great direction, great movie!

You've, um, seen it right? Watching De Niro in this film will make you weep for just about everything he's done since. He should have just retired instead. He's that good.


Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Hey! A Sunday post!

Oct 9, 2010


I'm probably on The Internet Movie Database as much as any other website out there, and I have been ever since it was created way back in the early days of the Internet. Comes with being a huge movie geek. The amount of information gleaned from it's web pages has been invaluable to me when boring dinner guests with my extreme movie trivia knowledge.

Over the years, they've expanded their databases to include television shows, video games and reality programming. They've added features like trivia, memorable quotes, awards, and a host of other things. But  for years, it's been basically the same with just some small changes.

Then they had to go ahead and change the format of it recently. And I hate it! With a capital fucking HATE! They moved all the links from the left side of the page to...wherever on the home page. Extremely random. A lot of hunting and searching for stuff that used to be right there. I don't get it.

And once you get to a title or actor or whatever, the same thing. The links used to be right there in the left sidebar. Now most of them are down at the bottom of the page. Like this:

clicken ze biggen
Which would be fine if that was the way the entire site was formatted. But it's not. Like I said, the links on the homepage are strewn about all over the place. A lot of them in a new right sidebar, just to be difficult. Left is right, up is down...madness!

They've also concatenated gafluddled the credits page for actors, directors, writers and such.  So you have to expand the credits for them as a writer or producer if they are mostly known for acting.  It's a small thing, but it bothers me.  Like hunting and pecking for links that used to be right there.

And when you do find the link you are looking for, it brings you to a page that is still formatted the old way. With the links on the left-hand side.

Look! Trivia for Halloween!

Just stupid and lazy. I guess it's a work-in-progress, but I neither like the work nor the progress.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Fuck change.

Oct 8, 2010

Craig Ferguson...

...is way more awesome than Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O'Brien combined! Because sometimes he opens up his show like this:

That was from a while ago, but a few nights ago he was up to his old tricks again. This time bringing out the guys from Mythbusters to help him out with "I'll Stop the World and Melt With You" while dressed in a Navy dress whites and wearing a Flock of Seagulls wig. Believe me...it worked. Check it out over here.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. I do love a man in an Admiral's uniform..

Oct 7, 2010

Coundown to 1,000

So I noticed the other day that I'm rapidly approaching my 1,000th post here on The Verdant Dude.

Before this post, I was sitting at 958 posts. And with some quick math, I have 42 posts to go before reaching the magical plateau of 1,000. Then I noticed that November 18th is 43 days away, so I thought it would be a good idea to try to synchronize the two events so that my 1,000th post happened on November 18th.

What's November 18th? It's not on your calendars? C'mon sheeple, it's my birthday!

Well, I'm going to have to ramp things up here to make this work. I usually post 5 days a week, eschewing posts on the weekends. Why? Because I really don't read blogs on the weekends, and judging by my past attempts at weekend posts neither do most of you.

But I'm going to do it. Even if it's just a lazy blogger YouTube clip or a joke I've heard or a haiku. Scratch that...it won't be a haiku. I suck at those.

Complicating matters, I'm going on vacation ("Very exciting...as a luggage problem!") smack dab in the middle of all this, and I usually don't post daily while I'm away. So I'm going to have to do some planning ahead. And I hate planning ahead.

But I've set this arbitrary deadline, and I'm sticking to it!

So, um, any post suggestions? I'm not above using a meme or twelve to get this done.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. 1 down, 41 to go. Phew!

Oct 6, 2010

Be afraid...

Psst - Hey! Look over there at the right. Just wanted to remind you all of the Jack-o'-lantern contest. There's a link and a graphic and everything! Tell your enemies! - Earl

I've definitely mentioned this before on this blog, but I'm going to repeat it anyway. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, even though it was made for television back in the 1970's, is right up at the top of the list for scariest movies I have ever seen.

Sure, it's a bit silly. Kim Darby plays a woman who has inherited a family house. When she breaks through a walled-up old fireplace/alcove in the basement, she releases a bunch of pint-sized, pointy-headed demons who want her to join them. Some great sight gags with these mini-demons terrorizing her while hosting a dinner party or taking a bath. Fucking evil!

Maybe it was because I saw it on TV back when I was a young kid, but I would watch that movie EVERY time it was on and it would always scare the crap outta me. I watched it again maybe 15 years ago, and I saw the inherent silliness. I laughed at my younger self for letting this little movie scare the crap out of me.

I also slept with the lights on that night.

Well, Guillermo del Toro is producing the remake due out next April. And the first rave review is in. Not only is it reportedly as scary as all Hell, but the reviewer says it's also a really good film in general. I can't wait. Take a peek at the first trailer. I love how the first third of it is complete darkness. Exactly the kind of teaser trailer that studios should be making nowadays.

Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Kim Darby was a big star once.

Oct 5, 2010

Final Girl Film Club: Onibaba (1964)

Note: This review is part of the Final Girl Film Club over at Stacie Ponder's joint. Go have a look see if'n you want to get your horror on. Oh, and I'm going to spoil the hell out of this bad boy...you have been warned. - Earl

I first came across Onibaba at a local video store a few years after graduating from college. I had already gone through my Kurasawa film student phase, and while doing so I had read about this horror/fable by Japanese filmmaker Kaneto Shindo. So when I saw it next to Ran and Yojimbo up there on the shelf, I grabbed it.

I was also a fan of Japanese mythology and history at the time, and I was interested to find out that the film was adapted from a Buddhist fable called "A Mask With Flesh Scared a Wife". Loosely adapted. In the fable, a woman tries to prevent her virtuous daughter from going to the temple (I have no idea why) by donning a demon's mask to scare her. The daughter's faith winds up being stronger than her fear of the demon, and she continues to go to the temple. As a punishment, Buddha bonds the demon mask to the mother's face so that she would forever be a monster.

Kaneto Shindo took that fable and added a whole lot of sexy-sexy fun time to it for his film.

In his version, a woman and her son's wife are eking out an existence in a hellish war between two rival factions in medieval Japan. They trap and kill injured or lost samurai in this crazy tall-grass swamp that they live in. They then steal the warrior's possessions and sell them for food.

The woman's son has been away fighting in the war. Suddenly a neighbor, and a friend to the son, arrives at their hut with stories of war and death. The son's death, to be specific. Now this guy ain't no prize. He's shiftless and lazy, and he's got lusty eyes for his buddy's young widow. But he's the only swinging dick for miles, so both ladies start to get the hots for him almost immediately.

Hello, ladies...

Every night, the young widow blasts off through the reeds in an exhilarating mad dash to her new lover's hut. She's terrified of being out at night among the tall grass...the scene of many of her own past indiscretions...but the thrill of some quickie boom-boom with the slob is enough to keep her going. Her mother-in-law isn't fooled for a moment. Having followed her to the pig's hut, she begins to try to sway the man from continuing the relationship. Even offering her own body to him instead. "I'm not old on the inside!" she pleads, but he is having nothing of it.

During one of the nights when her daughter-in-law is with her new lover, an odd samurai in a demon's mask intrudes on the woman in her hut. He only wants directions to the main road to Kyoto, but there is something sinister and tragic about him. He refuses to take off the mask, saying that he is so handsome that it would break the woman's heart. Not trusting him to leave her alive after showing him his way, the woman tricks him into falling into the scariest pit ever. It's so deep you can hear an echo, and it's in the middle of this field of tall grass with no warning that it's coming up. I'd put some kind of fence around this thing if I were these ladies.

She gets some rope and climbs down to find him among the other bodies that she and her daughter-in-law have been disposing after their kills. After finally determining that he is dead, she tries to pry the mask off of his face. But it appears to be stuck. After much effort she gets it off, but his supposedly handsome face has been terribly scarred. He is hideous. But the mask gives the woman an idea. This is where the fable I mentioned comes in.

She begins to wear the mask and some odd kabuki outfit to scare the young widow each night as she runs to her slob of a lover. And it works. Until one rainy night when the young woman's lust overpowers her fears and she makes it to the dude's hut. They don't even wait to get inside to get it on. They do it right there in the rain amid the tall reeds. With the mother-in-law in the demon mask looking on.

That's when things get a little freaky.

The young widow gets back to find her mother-in-law crying in the hut with the demon mask on her face. She's crying because it got wet in the rain and it's now stuck on her. The girl, rightfully pissed off, uses a hammer to crack the mask in half and knock it off her face. But the woman, of course, is now just as scarred as the samurai who she killed. Even more so. She has literally turned into a monster.

There's a lot going on in this film. I'm not sure it works as straight horror. I don't think that was Shindo's intent at all actually. It's more of an art film, filled with symbolism. The scarring under the mask is supposed to evoke the memory of the radiation burns of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At one point, the young widow even asks of the older woman "The rain did this?" when she reveals the mask has been bonded to her face. A nod to the nuclear fallout nicknamed "black rain" by the survivors of the bombs? Maybe.

It's definitely a moody and atmospheric film. Shot in black and white, it is so sparse at times that it feels like it could have been a stage play. I'm not sure that the beat jazz score that popped up every once in a while fit, but hey...it was the groovy '60's, man!

All in all, I liked it. It's not very scary and I would be hard-pressed to call it a horror film. But it is an interesting study of the effects of war and class struggle on a society. Innocent farmers turning into killers and thieves in order to survive. War is hell, indeed.
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. The title literally means "Demon Woman". Oh yeah.